Intel Alder Lake 12th Generation: DDR5, PCIe 5.0, 16-core big.LITTLE and more

We continue with further leaks about Intel’s future processors. In that case, we will provide you with all the details about Alder Lake, the 12th generation of desktop processors, which have just been released.

More details about Intel Alder Lake 12th generation: up to 16 cores big.LITTLE, DDR5, PCIe 5.0, and more

Let us now come to the information that has been filtered onto the Notebookcheck media by several major manufacturers.

One of the key features of this generation of processors, both the Alder Lake S variant for desktops and the Alder Lake P variant for laptops, is the use of a core configuration similar to ARM’s big.LITTLE. This means that a processor has two types of cores, some “small”, slower and energy-efficient for simpler tasks (Gracemont) and others “big” with much higher performance (Golden Cove).

It is known that Alder Lake-S for desktops will have up to 8 large cores and 8 small cores, making 16 in total, and Alder Lake-P for laptops will have up to 6 large cores and 8 small cores. It will be an interesting challenge to manage them, as Windows will have to decide the most appropriate one for each point.

The nomenclature corresponds to Alder Lake-P for laptops and Lake-S for desktops. However, they report that the latter could also reach laptops in a variant with a different socket.
In addition, as we told you a few days ago, desktop CPUs will use the new LGA1700 socket, in the hope that it will be maintained for at least 3 consecutive generations. Its manufacturing process will be 10nm Enhanced SuperFin (10nm++), and we are waiting to see its performance.

Integrated Intel Xe-LP graphics on laptop and desktop

The P family will arrive in the Tiger Lake line with integrated Intel Xe-LP graphics up to 96 EUs. In the case of Alder Lake-S, they will be more performance-oriented, bringing the total up to 32 EUs.

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DDR5 Support

Of course, both platforms will support DDR5 at the level at which they are launched (already advanced by 2021), especially DDR5-4400, which will certainly be much more.

Connectivity and security

Connectivity for these processors will include Thunderbolt 4 ports on laptops, Maple Ridge controllers, WiFi 6E 802.11axR2 on both platforms (supports the 6GHz band in addition to the existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz), and more.

Intel Alder Lake 12th Generation: DDR5, PCIe 5.0, 16-core big.LITTLE and more

In terms of security, we will have full memory encryption, a feature we already see on other CPUs such as Ryzen Pro and Athlon Pro.

Alder Lake, the first to support PCIe 5.0?

Alder Lake, both desktop and laptop, will introduce support for the PCI Express 5.0 interface. This comes just a few years after AMD introduced support for PCIe 4.0 on the desktop.

In this sense, our reaction is the same as that of Intel when AMD launched it’s Ryzen 4000 with PCIe 4.0: it is not relevant at the moment, as graphics cards 3.0 have not even saturated and SSD 4.0 is still emerging on the market.

In any case, the technical progress in PCI Express technology that this represents is undeniable. We will have 8 PCIe 5.0 lines in Alder Lake-P and 16 lines in Alder Lake-S. There will be additional PCIe 4.0 lines in both cases, not counting the 3.0/4.0 of the chipset.

For now, we are waiting for Rocket Lake, their 11th generation CPUs, which will have a very difficult task to accomplish: fighting against AMD, which is in a very good position, and could overtake Intel with the upcoming introduction of Zen 3.